Chan and Platt Team Up to Help You Make Disciples
Making disciples is the mission of the church. But what does a disciple do? How does a disciple grow? And how does a disciple make other disciples of Jesus Christ?
David Platt and Francis Chan have teamed up to answer these questions and many more by producing Multiply Material, a 24-session discipleship experience where one person helps another understand what it means to follow Jesus, study Scripture, and be the church. This material is available online and includes coaching videos and additional resources to assist your study. Churches, small groups, and individuals can register for free live webcasts, November 9 from Birmingham, Alabama, and November 10 from San Francisco, California, at www.multiplymovement.com. Click here for suggestions on how to use the Multiply discipleship material, including 24 free video lessons.
I corresponded with Platt and Chan about why they have teamed up, why they think the North American church struggles to make disciples, and how pastors can use the material. Afterward if you still need convincing about the centrality of evangelism in discipleship, read this good word from Brian Parks in the latest 9Marks Journal.
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David, why have you and Francis Chan partnered to create Multiply?
Francis and I together want to trumpet Jesus' command for every disciple to make disciples. We come at this issue from different perspectives and different contexts, but we both agree that somewhere along the way, it seems like we've taken this costly command to go and make disciples of all nations, and we've mutated it into a comfortable call for people to come, be baptized, and sit in one location.
If you ask individual Christians today what it practically means to make disciples, you will probably get jumbled thoughts, ambiguous answers, and probably even some blank stares. So Francis and I want to work together to help clarify what it means to be a disciple and make disciples, and in the process to encourage all followers of Christ to see themselves as disciple-makers in the context of their local churches.
Why do you think the North American church struggles to make disciples, Francis?
Most Christians don't know that they are supposed to make disciples. They assume it is the role of the pastor or his staff. We have emphasized church attendance and Bible study attendance, but we have not stressed the necessity of partnership in the gospel. To hear a sermon without actually obeying has become acceptable in our church culture. Once again, the emphasis has been placed on attendance, not responsibility. It is just as James said, and we are "deceiving" ourselves (James 1:22) by hearing without doing. The believers who know Christ's command are either afraid or feel like they are not equipped. This is the reason the Multiply Material was created. We were hoping to encourage believers to make disciples and equip them to do so.
David, how can pastors and churches use the Multiply?
Multiply is designed to be a tool that can help disciples to intentionally make disciples, teaching people to obey everything Christ has commanded us. The material begins with the foundation of what it means to be a disciple and make disciples. From there, the material lays a foundation for reading, studying, and understanding God's Word, and then the material walks through the gospel in the context of the grand story of Scripture. In all of this, our goal is to provide a tool that overviews the basics of being disciples and making disciples in the context of redemptive history.
Our prayer is that people would be able to use this material in the context of one-on-one relationships or small groups of two or more, not just as a Bible study tool, but as a tool that fuels life-sharing and gospel-multiplying that all revolves around the Word. In the end, we hope that pastors and churches will be able to take this, even modify it as needed (we've tried to make it as accessible as possible for free online), and use it in ways that might be helpful for leading disciples to make disciples all across their churches.
Francis, why should a church or small group sign up to watch the free live webcast?
We believe there are thousands of believers in America determined to change church culture. It will encourage you to join with other Christians who also struggle to make disciples as we equip ourselves and pray for courage. Paul says that we should be "standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents (Philippians 1:27-28). Too often, we are divided and afraid. We believe this gathering will be one step in bringing us together and ridding our fear of making disciples.